Imperative Leadership Trait: Seeing Both Sides of the Story.

Are You Using the ‘Whole’ of each Employee?
One of the core issues of organizational success is the ability of leadership to apply the spirit and talent of the workforce to the achievement of the stated business goals. A vital question companies need to ask and answer is, ‘‘how do we gain the greatest economic value from the talent of the people who work for us?’    The answer is … use the ‘whole’ of each employee, not just a half.
Our brains have 2 parts – referred to as the left brain and the right brain, or left and right hemispheres.  Each side of the brain receives, processes and interprets information differently.  Great leaders create great solutions and plans by incorporating information from both sides of the brain.
The left brain is logical, rational, analytical, linear and theoretical.  Language and numeracy are specializations of the left brain.  When we think with the left brain we will think in an ordered, sequential, detailed fashion.  The right brain, on the other hand, thinks laterally and creatively…so we will get an idea, feel an emotion, intuitively know something or imagine an innovative possibility that breaks the mould of the old way of doing things.  The right brain allows us to empathize with others and to connect with others in a meaningful way.  Using the right brain we create mental pictures.  With the left brain we are able to plan how to implement the pictures we see.
Traditionally business and even educational institutions, in fact society in general, has emphasized the value of the skills of the left brain only.  For several decades the “knowledge worker” has been prized.  The right brain was perceived as being somewhat ‘soft’ and ‘flaky’ and of little importance in the serious corporate world.
This is changing.  It is becoming increasingly evident that traditional left brain thinking without right brain input, has outlived its usefulness. Great leaders respect the conceptual, intuitive, imaginative and interpersonal abilities of the right brain. There are many good business and financial reasons to understand and incorporate the talents of the ‘whole brain,’ for more effective thinking and planning.  But for me, the most important benefit of using the right brain is its ability to provide us with emotional information about ourselves and others, and its ability to help us interact purposefully with others.
We can develop the most competitive, leading edge strategies but if we do not know how to engage both the intellect a well as the emotions of the employees, it will remain a strategy that is great on paper alone – a strategy that could not be taken from conception to execution.  Understanding the interpersonal and emotional dynamics empowers leaders to communicate and interact with others in a way that will switch them on, instead of switch them off.  (For a detailed description of how whole brain thinking and communication works, as well as the tools and skills of whole brain thinking, see my chapter in the book, Mission Possible.)
Great Leaders know how to use of the ‘whole’ of each employee?
The first step is to know which side of the brain you personally prefer – what is your own thinking style preference?  Are you more logical, rational, detail oriented?  Or more linear, intuitive and imaginative?  Each one of us has our own thinking style preference.  We need to recognize this and then we need to understand the implications of this which are that we will think with one side of the brain more often than the other.  This skews our decisions, our planning and interpersonal behavior and communications (obtain a free thinking style profile  HYPERLINK “”
The second step is to decide what you are going to do about this.  Based on the fact that whole brain thinking, communication and execution has a significantly better outcome than half brain thinking, it becomes important for us to address how we can use the ‘whole’ of ourselves and of our team members.   There are just 2 options here.  As a leader we can either attend courses to learn how to integrate our own 2 brains.  Or we can create a whole brain team.  This is a complementary team consisting of individuals with different brain preferences and therefore with different thinking styles.  This means Identifying those people in your personal life, your teams and departments who have a different way of thinking to yourself, incorporate them in your meetings and planning sessions and consciously include their differing perspective in your decisions.  As long as we keep an open mind, they will assist us in thinking differently…and we will do the same for them.
For a complete list of Dr. Gluckman’s fascinating Keynote Topics and Leadership Development Programs contact us or visit her website: WWW.SANDYGLUCKMAN.COM


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